Emotions: Pensiveness, mental acuity, worry
Related organs: Spleen (yin)/Stomach (yang)
Season: Late Summer
Body tissue: Muscle
Climatic Qi: Damp
Sense organ: Mouth
If you do think, act.
Asking us to not think is practically an impossible thing to do;
however, one of my teachers always says this to his students and
his patients. Why? Thinking is not the culprit, worrying is. What
is the difference between thinking and worrying? For some people
who suffer from constant digestive issues, there is not much difference
between thinking and worrying. The moment they start to think, they
immediately begin ruminating every angle of the particular issue.
They find themselves obsessing about the issue. The inability to
“let go” of particular matters in our lives is not healthy.
In Chinese medicine, the spleen energy is directly related to one’s
ability to not worry excessively and to have total mental clarity.
For people whose jobs are to use mental energy often, such as teachers,
lawyers, computer engineers, etc…anyone with a desk job for
that matter, these professionals are more inclined to overuse
their mental spleen energy. Therefore, these professionals are more
inclined to deplete their physical spleen energy also. When we deplete
our spleen energy, we may cause many types of digestive issues,
one being irritable bowel syndrome. There are other factors that
may influence the decline of spleen “Qi”, such as irregular
eating habits, eating excessive amounts of cold or greasy foods
or eating too close to bedtime.
Physically damaging our spleen energy eventually causes mental
weakness of the spleen energy. This is an example of the Yin/Yang
theory. The yin (mind) affects the yang (body). The yang affects
the yin. As a practitioner, figuring out which came first, the chicken
or the egg, does not matter. I deal with both during treatment with
acupuncture and Chinese herbs. This means that I treat the cause
and the symptoms of each patient’s complaints. I advise my
patients the danger of worrying and the danger of not making wise
dietary decisions. Damaging the body will damage the mind. Damaging
the mind will damage the body. Before we decide to obsess about
a topic, we should ask ourselves if it is worth the wellbeing of
our body. Before we decide to hurt ourselves by eating improperly,
we should ask ourselves if it is worth the ability to think clearly.
I have treated countless numbers of patients with digestive issues.
From 1999-2006 I focused on digestive and menstrual issues. Most
of these patients were women. Typically, a woman suffering from
digestive issues also suffered from menstrual issues of some kind,
no matter if it was just a minor complaint.
The Spleen is related to the Blood in two ways. First of
all it is the origin of Blood as it produces Food-Qi which is
the basis for the formation of Blood.
Secondly, Spleen-Qi makes sure that Blood remains in the
blood vessels and does not extravasate. If Spleen-Qi is deficient,
Qi cannot hold Blood, and haemorrhages may result. Such haemorrhages
are of the deficient type, because they are due to deficient Qi
not holding Blood.
-THE FOUNDATIONS OF CHINESE MEDICINE by Giovanni Maciocia
This statement by Dr. Maciocia explains how spleen energy creates
blood, how spleen energy keeps the blood in the blood vessels and
how weakness of the spleen energy causes hemorrhages. Therefore,
if we do not take care of our spleen energy by worrying too much
or eating unhealthily, we can affect our ability to produce blood
well, our ability to digest food well and our ability to prevent
A person dealing with very weak spleen energy issues is who I used
to be. Since my treatments began in 1994, my life changed. My destructive
eating pattern caused me to ruin my spleen energy, which caused
dampness. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs worked at transforming the
dampness in my body and helped me to lose over 45 pounds. It has
been great to enjoy three sizes lighter than what I used to wear.
I snored profoundly due to the phlegm that my weak spleen energy
used to produce (dampness in the lungs/nose is called “phlegm”).
In fact, my college roommates used to record my snoring throughout
the night. A weak spleen creates an increase in desires for eating
sweet foods. When I would get hungry or craved sweets, I had to
have food or sweets immediately or my liver energy would take over
and I would become aggressively angry (a typical diagnosis that
we call “liver attacking spleen” or “wood attacking
earth”). My spleen energy was weak, so I did not produce much
blood; therefore, my periods would only last 1 day (a healthy menses
should last 3-5 days, all red blood, no clots, no cramping before/during/after
menses, etc.). My weak spleen energy caused a great deal of cramping
prior to and during my period. I was constantly lethargic (when
the spleen is weak, fatigue sets in; also, dampness caused by a
weak spleen does not move well, so its stagnant energy causes the
feeling of not wanting to be active). Being physically tired did
not help my mental clarity. Those were my undergraduate years and
I had never experienced school to be as challenging as it had been
then. The material for any college student requires us to think
more, yes, but the task is especially difficult to undertake when
one’s mental and physical health are not at optimum levels.
The moment my spleen began to “awaken” due to Chinese
medicine, reading and memorization became a fond hobby of mine again.
My grades began to soar and I was full of energy. From 1994 until
this day, I have books everywhere. I take notes everywhere. I can
be a student of life without damaging my spleen as long as I continue
to strengthen my spleen energy. Making the right decisions about
food and giving my mind a break are important to cultivating strong
spleen energy. Letting go of personal issues is an important lesson.
I know that when I get overly passionate about a certain issue,
I will cause myself to have diarrhea. Therefore, I prevent myself
from worrying about anything, lest I face the consequences immediately
after I eat. That is never any fun.
I have been in love with life since the powers of Chinese medicine
came into my life in 1994. I owe the disappearance of IBS in my
life due to my lifestyle changes, which includes being a patient
of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I used to suffer from either constipation
or diarrhea on a weekly, sometimes a daily basis. My confidence
was not very high when I was heavier. There is a school of thought
in Chinese medicine that if we strengthen the “earth”,
everything in our health will improve. I subscribe to this school
of thought and hundreds of my patients are living testaments to
the theory that if we can metabolize our foods correctly, many other
diseases we may be suffering from will no longer manifest.
So back to my teacher’s quote, “Don’t think.
If you think, act.” I live by this premise daily. I will think
about a particular issue. If I know a change has to be made, I act.
If I don’t want to act on it, then I won’t think about
Think about that.
God speed on allowing you to make and follow through with your